Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Took A Ride, Didn't Know What I Would Find There

Road Trip!  The week before it seems impossible that you can actually leave the city in a car and within an hour or less be in an entirely different environment.  But with some simple planning, it can happen.  And happen it did.  A road trip to see a drive-in double feature in a small town called Warwick.  I took the opportunity to plan a little hike in some sort of natural setting, a State Park I found nearby where other people have apparently made it out alive and no doubt the paths would be clearly marked.  Actually, I counted on an amateur 1 to 2 hour jaunt that we'd laugh about later saying how easy it was and how some city dwellers probably think that's what a real hike is about.   
A Brooklyn McDonald's Egg McMuffin to christen the cute rental car.  Large coffees and we're on the open road!
Leaving the city always makes me appreciate just how incredible it is. This cram-packed gorgeous, horrible, dirty, yet completely unaffordable monster that exists with all of these nooks and crannys.  Huge sections of livelihood that thrive and breathe completely independent yet connected on this one tiny island.

Tons of new construction on the West Side highway that will most likely house more corruption and greed but driving quickly past feels more like a sweet art installation to dream upon. 
Nothing matters because we're getting out!  I can see the bluffs just on the other side of the George Washington bridge, the portal to the other side.  
 And we make it!  It's early morning.  I have a side plan to stop at a small lake and go swimming but it's super early, not that warm and I mistakenly read that the goose tend to poop all over the beach and that is enough to sway me away.  I take some photos and off we go.

Sterling Forest State Park.  We go into the information center and get the hike trail map and assurance.  I picked the one around the lake.  I thought I saw an eye roll of disapproval upon our approach from the lady working the desk.  Maybe she saw versions of us, each week coming for some slice of non-city earth...that lasted about two hours before we raced back to gotham. In hindsight I think she purposely didn't warn us that this loop around the lake would result in 4 or more hours of our time and it was not for the weak.  Something it might have been kind to mention, had she been a sweet more thoughtful park guide. I had on a cute cotton hippy bedazzled halter top and earrings, short shorts.  All sure fire signs I was not real hike ready.
The first 20 minutes on the trail and we were both exhausted and felt we clearly mismanaged this excursion. P didn't even want to take a backpack.  But I had fears of getting lost so I filled with water, bars and nuts, camera, binoculars, moist towelettes, cell phones and mosquito repellent.   And besides, we came to get our asses kicked a little.  We came to feel something.  We needed to free our minds of the city as well as our bodies.  The trail was hilly and rocky and that lake was about ten times the size I imagined.  It was invigorating and once we knew it was too late to turn back, I had new worries. Like trying to carry P out of there should he stumble and break an ankle.  Or what happens if we lose the trail and never find civilization again, which was a real scare at the end but it worked out.  But not before I was on the edge of a full anxiety attack. 
But midpoint, that view was so still and breathtaking.  The definition of tranquil.  No one was on the trail outside of one lone man, who we both silently worried was a serial killer and walked quickly by both acting as though this was an everyday occurrence to see a man alone in the woods standing sideways looking at the ground.  My heart didn't stop racing until I imagined at least five ways I could defend myself if he should race at us with a machete.

This certainly was somewhere else.  Outside in 3D.  Outside in a way that almost felt unrecognizable.  Does this really still exist?  And for no one to be here mid August was pure gravy. Dreamy gravy.
But like modern day assholes we took it in quickly and moved on.  The adrenaline got us all chatty and we were going on about everything under the sun, plans, memories, how long this fucking trail turned out to be. We laughed about how long we've been walking together on this life path.  Almost to the end, we started to relax, enough to lose that path on the final descent.  We found a road that looked the exact same either way you looked and P wandered to find the entrance.  As he got smaller and smaller I yelled to come back, which he ignored and then I realized he had the bag with all our phones, water, and keys.  The quiet and solitude suddenly became a horror movie where P never makes it back and darkness sets in.
I ran to catch up right before he was completely out of site.  He found the entrance and waved me to safety. The advanced State Park expedition ride was now complete.
As a sweet reward I found a cute place called Taco Hombre and it turned out to be organic with the freshest most vibrant tacos and bless them, they served tamales!  About 20 hipsters working the front counter and one lone Mexican guy in the back that came out I think to see who ordered the tamales in this tiny town.  I imagine he prides himself on them and they were absolutely delicious. We ate like lions and felt good about it. Hours of moving body parts, fresh air, a near death experience and now back to relax at the cool hotel before dusk.

The drive-in was magical, we even had a rainbow AND a full moon that night.
The snack bar food was somewhat sketchy but certainly edible.

The next morning driving back to the city you're struck with so much stimulus. 
Enough to make you feel that wild animal yearning, clawing at your soul.  Reminding you, that's who we really are and meant to be. Free and wild.

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